The fact that every cutting edge, top-of-the-line smartphone is outclassed by another model within months (or weeks) of release has an upside: There's a glut of great smartphones that are unbelievably cheap. Provided you qualify for a new-phone discount, the array of high-quality smartphones that can be had for less than $100 is impressive. We're not hyping a bunch of consolation prizes or bargain-bin finds. These handsets prove that spending more than a c-note for a new smartphone is as obsolete as a Blackberry.
Note: Prices are subject to change, and may vary by region.
Motorola Moto X
The initial selling point for the Moto X was its surprisingly low price point for an out-of-contract Android phone: roughly $200. Considering its lowlight-optimized 10-megapixel camera, relatively snappy performance and nifty touchless voice control features (you can start searching by saying "OK Google Now" without any button presses), that really was an appealing price. But settling for a contract brings that price to zero, and highlights the phone's most unique feature among virtually any handset, and definitely among free-but-great models – you can customize the device's colors, with two choices for the front panel (black or white), eight choices for the accent color, and dozens for the rear panel.
Standout Feature: Customizable Design
[Free with AT&T or Verizon to $0.01 with Sprint; att.com, verizonwireless.com]